"Right now we're renegotiating NAFTA and this is big news, this is international news that we've closed down this General Motors plant," said Todd Sleeper. He's worked at the factory, known as CAMI, for four years since being laid off from a nearby Caterpillar Inc. plant. That plant was closed after workers refused to accept a 50 percent pay cut and some of the production was later moved to Mexico. "We need to start protecting jobs here in Canada."
One of the main reasons for Canada's loss of auto assembly jobs is familiar to anyone who reads Trump tweets: Mexico. With its significantly lower wages, aggressive incentives, free trade agreements with other countries, lower manufacturing costs and a growing skilled workforce, the country has beat out Canada and the U.S. to win at least eight of nine North American vehicle assembly plants announced between 2011 and 2016, according to the Center for Automotive Research.
Although CAMI has been producing flat out on three shifts a day, six days a week for eight years, it's also felt the direct impact of Mexico's automotive ascendancy. In January, GM shifted production of the GMC Terrain to Mexico from CAMI, costing the plant about 400 jobs.